Bridegroom Bodyguard by Lisa Childs

bridegroom bodyguardTitle: Bridegroom Bodyguard

Author: Lisa Childs

Mills & Boon imprint: Intrigue

Year of publication: 2014

The heroine: Law clerk/Nanny Sharon Wells

The hero: Former undercover cop & bodyguard Parker Payne

The blurb: Someone is trying to kill bodyguard Parker Payne. But what’s more shocking is the woman who shows up claiming he’s the father of her child. The baby boy is Parker’s spitting image, but how could he have forgotten a passionate encounter with this woman with caramel eyes?

Sharon Wells has raised Parker’s son since his birth. Now with a homicidal maniac coming after her and her son, it’s Parker’s unexpected proposal that may be the real danger. Sharon knows Parker just wants to protect them. But with passion flaring and a murderer intent on completing his personal mission, any distraction could mean the difference between life and death.

Standalone or series: This is part of the Shotgun Weddings series, and is also set in the same universe as the Bachelor Bodyguard series. You don’t have to have read the books before, but it helps.

The review: I’m a fan of Lisa Childs and the Payne universe she’s created. The Paynes are an awesome family and great fun to read about. We have Mama Penny Payne, who organises weddings and is determined to marry all of her children off as quickly as possible. Penny’s resolution to the situations her children get into is to marry. Then we have twins Logan and Parker, both former cops who run the Payne Protection Agency; Cooper, who works with them; and Nikki, the youngest, who is constantly trying to prove to her older brothers that she can be as good a bodyguard as them.

In this book, they also find out they have another half-brother in Special Agent Nicholas Rus; if I remember correctly, he’s eventually embraced by the Paynes and changes his surname to theirs (they all share the same father, a cop who was killed in the line of duty. He worked undercover and had a job protecting Nicholas’s mother, whom he unknowingly got pregnant. Penny knew about the affair but not the child).

Parker has just avoided being blown up by an unknown assassin when Sharon Wells turns up at his hospital bed with his nine-month-old son, Ethan. The blurb is a bit misleading because Sharon never actually says she is Ethan’s mother; it turns out the judge she was working for is the mother, but wasn’t particularly interested in raising her child, so she had Sharon raise him as his nanny. When the judge disappears, Sharon goes to Parker as instructed. They soon learn that the judge is dead, murdered, and that she has left Sharon guardianship of Ethan in her will.

Sharon is horrified at the thought of having to hand Ethan over to his father, and they soon learn they both have hits out on them for an obscene amount of money, so in order for them to ensure Ethan is not placed into care and that if something happen to one of them the other will retain guardianship, Penny suggests they legally marry right now. Since Parker finds himself attracted to Sharon and wants to protect both her and his child, he agrees. They’re married within 24 hours of meeting but aren’t out of danger yet.

It turns out that the judge is the reason they have hits on them, and they eventually work out the who and the why. They also realise they’re in love with each other and decide to stay married and raise Ethan together as their child.

I always enjoy reading books about the Paynes and this was no exception, but I did have a tough time swallowing how quickly Parker and Sharon fell for each other. I loved the character of Sharon and I could understand, given her history, why she felt safe around Parker and his family. But they really didn’t know anything about each other, and went through situations that would make even the toughest of people crazy. I also found the sex scene really sudden – it seemed to come out of nowhere.

The one thing that did drive me crazy was the constant reference of Parker being a ‘playboy’. Yep, I got it the first ten times. He even referred to himself as that when talking to his mother towards the end! I could have lived without that, but overall I enjoyed the book and must make a note to get a copy of Logan’s book (which comes before this one).

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